Could bitcoin mining really demand nuclear

could bitcoin mining really demand nuclear

Digiconomist only provides bitcoin and ethereum energy consumption estimates while CBECI only does it for bitcoin. According to the firm, ethereum’s energy footprint has declined from an all-time high of 21TWh/year in July 2018 to 7.7 TWh/year currently.

That is only a tenth of what bitcoin guzzles up.

It’s possible to estimate the energy consumption of other altcoins by checking out their hash rates and making assumptions about the type of mining rigs deployed and their respective efficiencies. However, those figures could be wildly off the mark, as we have seen with Bevand’s estimates.

Considering that bitcoin’s dominance has climbed from below 50% of all cryptocurrency (market cap) a few years ago to 61.5% currently, you can bet this is where the vast majority of mining activity is taking place.

Vekus used a shipping container to create an on-site mine, demonstrating the potential for digital currency mines to be placed on oil and gas sites around the country.

Russia is the world’s biggest gas flare producer, followed by Iraq, the U.S., and Iran, which in totalaccounted for 45 percent of global gas flaresin 2017-2019.

Other cryptocurrency companies could make similar deals with oil and gas companies so long as they have proof of Work (PoW) option to process transactions. This could make digital currencies more sustainable in the long-term as electricity costs currently account for the majority of their production costs.

As oil and gas companies are feeling increasing pressure from regulators and governments to curb their carbon emissions over the coming decade, Bitcoin-for-gas could offer a simple solution to put an end to flaring and venting.

Whether you feel Bitcoin has a valid claim on society’s resources boils down to how much value you think Bitcoin creates for society.

If we’re going to have this debate, however, we should be clear on how Bitcoin actually consumes energy. Understanding Bitcoin’s energy consumption may not settle questions about its usefulness, but it can help to contextualize how much of an environmental impact Bitcoin advocates are really talking about making.

Specifically, there are a few key misconceptions worth addressing.

Energy Consumption Is Not Equivalent to Carbon Emissions

First, there’s an important distinction between how much energy a system consumes and how much carbon it emits.

Could bitcoin mining really demand nucleari

The best estimates of energy production geolocation (from which an energy mix can be inferred) come from the CCAF, which has worked with major mining pools to put together an anonymized dataset of miner locations.

Based on this data, the CCAF can guess about the energy sources miners were using by country, and in some cases, by province. But their dataset doesn’t include all mining pools, nor is it up to date, leaving us still largely in the dark about Bitcoin’s actual energy mix.
Furthermore, many high profile analyses generalize energy mix at the country level, leading to an inaccurate portrait of countries such as China, which has an extremely diverse energy landscape.

As a result, estimates for what percentage of Bitcoin mining uses renewable energy vary widely.

Could bitcoin mining really demand nuclearcraft

This solution is suitable for many states,” he said.

Hartley noted some companies are working specifically on geothermal designs more closely aligned with extending “end-of-life” oil and gas wells, though the GreenFlash system “is suitable even for operating oil and gas wells,” while acknowledging it could be used to extend a well’s life. Hartley also noted how some companies are powering cryptocurrency mining with flared gas from their own wells—such as the Louisiana project mentioned earlier—and said the GreenFlash system is more economic.

Flare gas is doing a lot more work for the same amount of [power],” he said.

“The reason we are leading with bitcoin mining today is, it’s really a best-use of energy. It’s the most flexible … it’s the ideal solution to solve merchant energy issues.

We can facilitate powering of a data farm,” said Hartley.

While some companies took the plunge and trialed a Bitcoin-for-gas programas early as 2019, this was a widely overlooked solution to flaring and venting. Related: ExxonMobil Set To Outperform As Oil And Gas Prices Climb

Sergii Gerasymovych, the owner of a Bitcoin mining company, EZ Blockchain, reached out to oil and gas companies a few years ago to no avail. But “The market conditions have changed,”he explained.
“Now, every oil and gas company we reached out to in 2018 is calling us back because they see Bitcoin is making a lot of money.”

Bitcoin is becoming increasingly attractive to companies looking to modernize and go digital with the price of the digital currency doubling during the last year, despite a pre-pandemic dip.

Bitcoin could end up serving as a serious incentive for miners to build out these technologies.

In addition, miners are unlikely to continue expanding their mining operations at the current rates indefinitely. The Bitcoin protocol subsidizes mining, but those subsidies have built-in checks on their growth. Today, miners receive small fees for the transactions that they verify while mining (accounting for around 10% of miner revenue), as well as whatever profit margins they can get when they sell the bitcoins they have mined.

However, the protocol is built to halve the issuance-driven component of miner revenue every four years — so unless the price of Bitcoin doubles every four years in perpetuity (which economics suggests is essentially impossible for any currency), that share of miner revenue will eventually decay to zero.

(We’ve added a new chart for absolute hashrate)

— Michel Rauchs (@mrauchs) October 13, 2021

A month earlier, KEOC limited power to some data centers. KEOC completely cut off some miners in the south of the country, far away from the power plants in the north.

At press conference earlier this month, Kazakhstan’s deputy energy minister Murat Zhurebekov said the country had no choice but to rely on Russian produced power in an attempt to bridge the gap.

It hasn’t.

Kazakhstan already produces nuclear fuel

On November 10, national nuclear energy firm Kazatomprom officially opened a new plant making uranium fuel rods.

However, the expected 200 tones of nuclear fuel is intended for Chinese power plants.

Despite unease from citizens, President Tokayev is keen on a nuclear solution.

But Bitcoin miners from North Dakota to Siberia have seized the opportunity to monetize this otherwise-wasted resource, and some companies are even exploring ways to further reduce emissions by combusting the gas in a more controlled manner. Of course, this is still a minor player in today’s Bitcoin mining arena, but back of the envelope calculations suggest that there’s enough flared natural gas in the U.S.

and Canada alone to run the entire Bitcoin network.

To be fair, the monetization of excess natural gas with Bitcoin does still create emissions, and some have argued that the practice even acts as a subsidy to the fossil fuel industry, incentivizing energy companies to invest more in oil extraction than they otherwise might.

How much energy does an industry deserve to consume? Right now, organizations around the world are facing pressure to limit the consumption of non-renewable energy sources and the emission of carbon into the atmosphere. But figuring out how much consumption is too much is a complex question that’s intertwined with debates around our priorities as a society.

The calculation of which goods and services are “worth” spending these resources on, after all, is really a question of values. As cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin in particular, have grown in prominence, energy use has become the latest flashpoint in the larger conversation about what, and who, digital currencies are really good for.

On the face of it, the question about energy use is a fair one.

Two years down the line, all the blame has shifted to fossil fuels as the shift to renewable energy and the ESG drive continue to gain momentum, while Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining hardly get a passing mention.

So, how much is Bitcoin mining really contributing to our changing climate?

It is a question worth pondering, considering that scientists have warned that we havea mere 10-year window to actto stop this global phenomenon or risk permanent and irreversible damage to our ecosystems.


Ever-Rising Hash Rates

For some crypto buffs, critics who squawk at the vast amounts of energy supposedly consumed by crypto mining and how it contributes to climate change are little more than churlish, pedantic party poopers.

In December 2019, one report suggested that 73% of Bitcoin’s energy consumption was carbon neutral, largely due to the abundance of hydro power in major mining hubs such as Southwest China and Scandinavia. On the other hand, the CCAF estimated in September 2020 that the figure is closer to 39%. But even if the lower number is correct, that’s still almost twice as much as the U.S. grid, suggesting that looking at energy consumption alone is hardly a reliable method for determining Bitcoin’s carbon emissions.

Bitcoin Can Use Energy That Other Industries Can’t

Another key factor that makes Bitcoin’s energy consumption different from that of most other industries is that Bitcoin can be mined anywhere.

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